Sometimes we get into a slump and need a little boost to get out of it. Being stuck in the same daily routine can leave us feeling a tired or unmovitated, but it’s surprisingly easy to change that feeling. Our brains thrive on new experiences, which can have transformative effects. You don’t have to visit a new country, or start a new job to reap the rewards either. Something as simple as cooking a new dish can give your brain that boost of novelty that it needs to feel alive and excited. We’ve pulled together some easy and fun suggestions that you can try at home to give your brain a little pick-me-up.
Learn a New Game
Learning a new game is a great way to keep your mind sharp. There are obviously lots of different options, but poker makes a good one because the basic strategy is very simple. Yet, as you progress you can choose to look into more complex ideas, meaning that there is always something new to learn. Once you get to the stage where you feel you’ve learned all that you, can you can even use apps to improve your gameplay further, helping you to track where you’re making mistakes.
If you fancy a game that you can play alone or with a partner then chess could be a good one to try. The popularity of this ancient board game has soared recently thanks to the glamorous series The Queen’s Gambit, which helped people to see chess for the art that it really is. If you’re feeling a little underwhelmed at the idea of learning to play chess then watching that series could be a good way to get excited about it. Once you’re feeling pumped, start off by learning how each of the pieces moves and then by learning some opening sequences. Just like poker, chess has endless strategies that you can learn. Even those who’ve been playing for a lifetime still have more to learn, meaning there’s infinite potential for that novelty that your brain desires.
Learn a New Language
Some of us really enjoy the challenge of learning a new skill and our brains enjoy it too. Learning a new language to a good standard can genuinely affect the way that our brains work. Bilingual people are thought to have an easier time understanding complex emotions, enabling them to interact more empathetically with those around them. Whether you want to experience increased empathy, or just want to be able to impress your partner on your next holiday, there’s never a bad reason to learn a language. There are lots of apps that can help you to learn, including Babbel and Duolingo. It’s possible to achieve results in as little as five minutes per day, but the more work you put in, the quicker you’ll progress. As an incentive to keep up the momentum, why not book yourself a vacation for six months down the line? By the time you get there, you’ll be amazed at everything you’ve learned and being surrounded by a language will help you pick up more knowledge everywhere you look.
Explore a New Cuisine
This tip is a particularly effective one because not only do you get to learn all about a new cuisine and the culture surrounding it, you also get to feed your body something delicious. Choosing a new cuisine to learn about and emulate teaches your brain about a whole culture and the multi-sensory aspects of this activity are really stimulating. You might learn about totally new fruits or vegetables and a way of creating complex flavor profiles that don’t exist in your own nationality’s cuisine. It’s best to start somewhere that is totally foreign to you, so that this becomes a well-rounded learning experience, rather than an excuse to binge on the kind of BBQ sauce they use a couple of states across from you. If you find things getting stagnant in terms of learning then throw a dinner party for your friends. You can plan a menu based on all of the things you’ve learned about this kind of cookery – one of them might even want to get involved!